Difference-sensitive communities, networked learning, and higher education: Potentialities and risks
SourceStudies in Higher Education
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Recent emphases on prospects for difference‐sensitive virtual communities rely implicity or explicity on some optimist accounts of cyberspace and globalization. It is expected that hybridity, diaspora and fluidity, marking new understandings of spatiality and temporality in a globalized postmodern era, will create new forms of belonging that will not suffer from the shortcomings of the old notion of community. In this article, the author examines the paradigmatic assumptions underlying these views and explores their positive and negative possibilities. The author concentrates on some dangerous paths that globalization follows and globalist discourse overlooks, in its effort to promote a difference‐sensitive conception of multiple communities. The author then shows how homogenizing tendencies in higher education might take precedence over democratic inclinations, and block the potential employment of virtuality for better political purposes. The author concludes with suggestions about how to conceptualize learning communities Other‐wise and how to cultivate other‐oriented educational conduct.